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Megan Thee Stallion’s pain is bringing joy to misogynists

Pseudo-intellectual misogynists are using Megan Thee Stallion’s shooting allegations against fellow rapper Tory Lanez to push hate that cannot be ignored.


I don’t think Megan Thee Stallion has ever been truly welcomed in the hip-hop industry.

Men who’ve controlled the levers of power in the industry — men of all races, I should note — have always been reluctant to allow women space and autonomy in what’s long been considered a boys’ club. In my experience, even men who follow hip-hop are reluctant to consider a female rapper legitimate unless they’ve seen a man co-sign her first — from Roxanne Shante to Lil’ Kim to Latto, the list is long. 

Megan Thee Stallion flipped the game a bit. She became a viral superstar through rap videos posted online. And she has openly said her mother helped her navigate the industry early on. Put another way: She used modern technology and a woman’s wisdom to circumvent a patriarchal system — to make music that subverts the male gaze, at that

To me, this is important context for the misogyny that Megan Thee Stallion — real name, Megan Pete — has been subjected to during the assault trial of fellow rapper Tory Lanez, who is charged with shooting Pete and whose real name is Daystar Peterson. I think she’s paying for her defiance of male supremacy in the court of public opinion. 

Since the shooting in 2020, men have taken to the internet and the airwaves to mock Pete’s claims and question their legitimacy, even though medical records show bullet fragments were retrieved from her foot. (Pete initially told officers she became injured by stepping on broken glass after an altercation involving Peterson, but she later told prosecutors that he shot her.) The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has said the evidence “substantially supports” Pete’s allegations. Peterson has pleaded not guilty.

Still, Peterson himself — along with his (apparently) former foe Drake, several other male rappers and an array of Black gossip bloggers and purported legal experts on the internet — have become purveyors of disinformation, pushing suggestions that Pete was lying. (Great time to read this post about how Black gossip blogs often traffic in right-wing talking points, by the way.)

The disinformation is providing a convenient way for many self-identifying men who follow hip-hop to profess a similarly hateful belief about women in the industry: that they get involved for sexual manipulation and little else. 

Pete has addressed this misogyny repeatedly in public and even during the trial. 

“This situation has only been worse for me, and it has only made him more famous,” Pete said when she took the stand last week. “Because I was shot, I’ve been turned into some kind of villain, and he’s the victim. This has messed up my whole life. ... This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys’ club. ... I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”

She’s right. There’s a sick fellowship among men who apparently derive pleasure from seeing her in anguish. For me, watching this has invoked memories of the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp defamation trial, and Gamergate before then. 

In 2019, years after video game developer Brianna Wu faced misogynistic hate for supporting women in the gaming industry, she wrote for The New York Times that the unique problem of web-based misogyny hadn’t dissipated. 

“Even today, game studios rarely stand by their employees who are targeted by online mobs who use exactly the same tactics they used during Gamergate,” she wrote.

Those tactics — disinformation, harassment by committee, and more — aren’t confined to Gamergate, of course

“The main lesson I took from Gamergate is that asking the status quo to do the right thing doesn’t work,” Wu wrote. “In a way, that is empowering. Instead of asking men to fix this field, women need the power to fix it ourselves."

I don’t fault any woman who looks at the Tory Lanez trial and feels similarly. Megan Thee Stallion has never needed men for popularity. But Megan Pete would like them to affirm her humanity. And a troubling number of men are deriving pleasure from denying it.